Vikings were Norse seafarers speaking the Old Norse language, who during the late 8th to late 11th centuries and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, explored westwards to Iceland and Vinland. The term is commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Norse home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age; this period of Nordic military and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, Kievan Rus' and Sicily. Facilitated by advanced sailing and navigational skills, characterised by the longship, Viking activities at times extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East. Following extended phases of exploration and settlement, Viking communities and governments were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, Belarus and European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America.
This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions. Popular, modern conceptions of the Vikings—the term applied casually to their modern descendants and the inhabitants of modern Scandinavia—often differ from the complex picture that emerges from archaeology and historical sources. A romanticised picture of Vikings as noble savages began to emerge in the 18th century. Perceived views of the Vikings as alternatively violent, piratical heathens or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century. Current popular representations of the Vikings are based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy; these representations are not always accurate — for example, there is no evidence that they wore horned helmets.
One etymology derives víking from the feminine vík, meaning "creek, small bay". Various theories have been offered that the word viking may be derived from the name of the historical Norwegian district of Viken, meaning "a person from Viken". According to this theory, the word described persons from this area, it is only in the last few centuries that it has taken on the broader sense of early medieval Scandinavians in general. However, there are a few major problems with this theory. People from the Viken area were not called'Viking' in Old Norse manuscripts, but are referred to as víkverir,'Vík dwellers'. In addition, that explanation could explain only the masculine and ignore the feminine, a serious problem because the masculine is derived from the feminine but hardly vice versa; the form occurs as a personal name on some Swedish runestones. The stone of Tóki víking was raised in memory of a local man named Tóki who got the name Tóki víking because of his activities as a viking; the Gårdstånga Stone uses the phrase "ÞeR drængaR waRu wiða unesiR i wikingu", referring to the stone's dedicatees as vikings.
The Västra Strö 1 Runestone has an inscription in memory of a Björn, killed when "i viking". In Sweden there is a locality known since the middle ages as Vikingstad; the Bro Stone was risen in memory of Assur, said to have protected the land from vikings. There is little indication of any negative connotation in the term before the end of the Viking Age. Another etymology, one that gained support in the early twenty-first century, derives Viking from the same root as Old Norse vika, f.'sea mile', originally'the distance between two shifts of rowers', from the root *weik or *wîk, as in the Proto-Germanic verb *wîkan,'to recede'. This is found in the Proto-Nordic verb *wikan,'to turn', similar to Old Icelandic víkja'to move, to turn', with well-attested nautical usages. Linguistically, this theory is better attested, the term most predates the use of the sail by the Germanic peoples of North-Western Europe, because the Old Frisian spelling shows that the word was pronounced with a palatal k and thus in all probability existed in North-Western Germanic before that palatalisation happened, that is, in the 5th century or before.
In that case, the idea behind it seems to be that the tired rower moves aside for the rested rower on the thwart when he relieves him. The Old Norse feminine víking may have been a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers, i.e. a long-distance sea journey, because in the pre-sail era, the shifting of rowers would distinguish long-distance sea journeys. A víkingr would originally have been a participant on a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers. In that case, the word Viking was not connected to Scandinavian seafarers but assumed this meaning when the Scandinavians begun to dominate the seas. In Old English, the word wicing appears first in the Anglo-Saxon poem, which dates from the 9th century. In Old English, in the history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen written by Adam of Bremen in about 1070, the term referred to Scandi
Montreuil or Montreuil-sur-Mer is a sub-prefecture in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. It is located on the Canche river, not far from Étaples; the sea, however, is now some distance away. Montreuil is surrounded by notable brickwork ramparts, constructed following the destruction of the town by troops of Habsburg emperor Charles V in June 1537; these fortifications pre-date the extensive fortification of towns in northern France by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban in the 17th century. Population: 2,688 inhabitants for the city, 21,603 inhabitants for the canton and 99,288 inhabitants for the arrondissement. Montreuil was the headquarters of the British Army in France during the First World War from March 1916 until it closed in April 1919; the military academy providing excellent facilities for GHQ. Montreuil was chosen as G. H. Q. for a wide variety of reasons. It was on a main road from London to Paris—the two chief centres of the campaign—though not on a main railway line, which would have been an inconvenience.
It was not an industrial town and so avoided the complications alike of noise and of a troublesome civil population. It was from a telephone and motor transit point of view in a central situation to serve the needs of a Force, based on Dunkirk, Boulogne and Havre, had its front stretching from the Somme to beyond the Belgian frontier. Haig staff member Sir Frank Fox OBE wrote a critically acclaimed contemporary account of the headquarters in 1916 published under the pseudonym "GSO", called G. H. Q, his work in the QMG's Directorate in the final offensive against the German Army resulted in his being awarded the OBE He was Mentioned in Despatches. General Haig was quartered in the nearby Château de Beaurepaire, two miles SE of the town on the D138. There is a plaque on the château wall to commemorate the event. King George V, accompanied by Haig, made a triumphant passage through Montreuil on his way to Paris on 27 November 1918. A statue of Haig on horseback, commemorating his stay, can be seen outside the theatre on the Place Charles de Gaulle.
During the German occupation of the town during the Second World War, the statue was taken down. It is thought to have been melted down, it was rebuilt in the 1950s. Lawrence Sterne visited the town in 1765, he recounted his visit through the eyes of the narrator of his novel A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy. Montreuil is the setting for part of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables, where it is identified only as M____-sur-M__ in past translations; the protagonist, Jean Valjean, is for a few years the mayor of Montreuil, as well as owner of the local factory, it is where the character Fantine lives and becomes a prostitute before dying in a local hospital. Hugo had spent several vacations in Montreuil. Montreuil is twinned with: Slough, England, UK Communes of the Pas-de-Calais department The equestrian statue of Field Marshal Haig on the website "Remembrance Trails of the Great War in Northern France" INSEE commune file
Duke of Normandy
In the Middle Ages, the Duke of Normandy was the ruler of the Duchy of Normandy in north-western France. The duchy arose out of a grant of land to the Viking leader Rollo by the French king Charles III in 911. In 924 and again in 933, Normandy was expanded by royal grant. Rollo's male-line descendants continued to rule it down to 1135. In 1202 the French king Philip II declared Normandy a forfeited fief and by 1204 his army had conquered it, it remained a French royal province thereafter, still called the Duchy of Normandy, but only granted to a duke of the royal house as an apanage. There is no record of Rollo using any title, his son and grandson, William I and Richard I, used the titles "count" and "prince". Prior to 1066, the most common title of the ruler of Normandy was "Count of Normandy" or "Count of the Normans"; the title Count of Rouen was never used in any official document, but it was used of William I and his son by the anonymous author of a lament on his death. Defying Norman pretensions to the ducal title, Adhemar of Chabannes was still referring to the Norman ruler as "Count of Rouen" as late as the 1020s.
In the 12th century, the Icelandic historian Ari Thorgilsson in his Landnámabók referred to Rollo as Ruðu jarl, the only attested form in Old Norse, although too late to be evidence for 10th-century practice. The late 11th-century Norman historian William of Poitiers used the title "Count of Rouen" for the Norman rulers down to Richard II. Although references to the Norman rulers as counts of Rouen are sparse and confined to narrative sources, there is a lack of documentary evidence about Norman titles before the late 10th century; the first recorded use of the title duke is in an act in favour of the Abbey of Fécamp in 1006 by Richard II. Earlier, the writer Richer of Reims had called Richard I a dux pyratorum, but which only means "leader of pirates" and was not a title. During the reign of Richard II, the French king's chancery began to call the Norman ruler "Duke of the Normans" for the first time; as late as the reign of William II, the ruler of Normandy could style himself "prince and duke, count of Normandy" as if unsure what his title should be.
The literal Latin equivalent of "Duke of Normandy", dux Normanniae, was in use by 1066, but it did not supplant dux Normannorum until the Angevin period, at a time when Norman identity was fading. Richard I experimented with the title "marquis" as early as 966, when it was used in a diploma of King Lothair. Richard II used it, but he seems to have preferred the title duke, it is his preference for the ducal title in his own charters that has led historians to believe that it was the chosen title of the Norman rulers. It was not granted to them by the French king. In the twelfth century, the Abbey of Fécamp spread the legend that it had been granted to Richard II by Pope Benedict VIII; the French chancery did not employ it until after 1204, when the duchy had been seized by the crown and Normandy lost its autonomy and its native rulers. The actual reason for the adoption of a higher title than that of count was that the rulers of Normandy began to grant the comital title to members of their own family.
The creation of Norman counts subject to the ruler of Normandy necessitated the latter taking a higher title. The same process was at work in other principalities of France in the eleventh century, as the comital title came into wider use and thus depreciated; the Normans kept the title of count for the ducal family and no non-family member was granted a county until Helias of Saint-Saens was made Count of Arques by Henry I in 1106. From 1066, when William II conquered England, becoming King William I, the title Duke of Normandy was held by the King of England. In 1087, William died and the title passed to his eldest son, Robert Curthose, while his second surviving son, William Rufus, inherited England. In 1096, Robert mortgaged Normandy to William, succeeded by another brother, Henry I, in 1100. In 1106, Henry conquered Normandy, it remained with the King of England down to 1144, during the civil war known as the Anarchy, it was conquered by Geoffrey Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou. Geoffrey's son, Henry II, inherited Normandy and England, reuniting the two titles.
In 1202, King Philip II of France, as feudal suzerain, declared Normandy forfeit and by 1204 his armies had conquered it. Henry III renounced the English claim in the Treaty of Paris. Thereafter, the duchy formed an integral part of the French royal demesne; the kings of the House of Valois started a tradition of granting the title to their heirs apparent. The title was granted four times between the French conquest of Normandy and the dissolution of the French monarchy in 1792; the French Revolution brought an end to the Duchy of Normandy as a political entity, by a province of France, it was replaced by several départements. Kings of England indicated by an asterisk Rollo, 911–927 William I Longsword, 927–942 Richard I the Fearless, 942–996 Richard II the Good, 996–1027 Richard III, 1026–1027 Robert I the Magnificent, 1027–1035 William II the Conqueror*, 1035–1087 Robert II Curthose, 1087–1106 William Rufus*, as regent 1096–1100 William Clito, as claimant 1106–1134 Henry I Beauclerc*, 1106–1135 William III Atheling Stephen of Blois*, 1135–1144 House of PlantagenetGeoffrey Plantagenet, 1144–1150 Henry II*, 1150–1189 Henry the Young King*, as junior duke 1170–1183 Richard IV Lionheart*, 1189–1199 John I Lackland*
Bayeux is a commune in the Calvados department in Normandy in northwestern France. Bayeux is the home of the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, it is known as the first major town secured by the Allies during Operation Overlord. Charles de Gaulle made two famous speeches in this town. Bayeux is a sub-prefecture of Calvados, it is the seat of of the canton of Bayeux. Bayeux is located 7 kilometres from 30 km north-west of Caen; the city, with elevations varying from 32 to 67 metres above sea level – with an average of 46 metres – is bisected by the River Aure. Bayeux is located at the crossroads of the train route Paris-Caen-Cherbourg; the city is the capital of the Bessin. The city was known as Augustodurum in the Roman Empire, it means the durum dedicated to Roman Emperor. The Celtic word duron, Latinised as durum, was used to translate the Latin word forum. In the Late Empire it took the name of the Celtic tribe who lived here: the Bodiocassi, Latinized in Bajocassi and this word explains the place-names Bayeux and Bessin.
Bodiocassi has been compared with Old Irish Buidechass'with blond locks'. Founded as a Gallo-Roman settlement in the 1st century BC under the name Augustodurum, Bayeux is the capital of the former territory of the Baiocasses people of Gaul, whose name appears in Pliny's Natural History. Evidence of earlier human occupation of the territory comes from fortified Celtic camps, but there is no evidence of any major pre-existing Celtic town before the organization of Gaul in Roman civitates. Any settlement was more confined to scattered Druid huts along the banks of the Aure and Drome rivers or on Mount Phaunus where they worshiped. Cemeteries have been found on the nearby Mount Phaunus indicating the area as a Druid centre. Titus Sabinus, a lieutenant of Julius Caesar, subjected the Bessin region to Roman domination; the 5th-century Notitia provinciarum et civitatum Galliae mentions Suevi, settled here. The town is mentioned by Ptolemy, writing in the reign of Antoninus Pius, under the name Noemagus Biducassium and remained so until the time of the Roman Empire.
The main street was the heart of the city. Two baths, under the Church of St. Lawrence and the post office in rue Laitière, a sculpted head of the goddess Minerva have been found, attesting to the adoption of Roman culture. In 1990 a closer examination of huge blocks discovered in the cathedral in the 19th century indicated the presence of an old Roman building. Bayeux was built on a crossroads between Lisieux and Valognes, developing first on the west bank of the river. By the end of the 3rd century a walled enclosure surrounded the city and remained until it was removed in the 18th century, its layout can be followed today. The citadel of the city was located in the cathedral the southeast. An important city in Normandy, Bayeux was part of the coastal defence of the Roman Empire against the pirates of the region, a Roman legion was stationed there; the city was destroyed during the Viking raids of the late 9th century but was rebuilt in the early 10th century under the reign of Bothon. In the middle of the 10th century Bayeux was controlled by Hagrold, a pagan Viking who defended the city against the Franks.
The 12th-century poet Benoît de Saint-Maure, in his verse history of the dukes of Normandy, remarked on the "Danish" spoken at Bayeux. The 11th century saw the creation of five villages beyond the walls to the north east evidence of its growth during Ducal Normandy. William the Conqueror's half brother Odo, Earl of Kent completed the cathedral in the city and it was dedicated in 1077; however the city began to lose prominence. When King Henry I of England defeated his brother Robert Curthose for the rule of Normandy, the city was burned to set an example to the rest of the duchy. Under Richard the Lionheart, Bayeux was wealthy enough to purchase a municipal charter. From the end of Richard's reign to the end of the Hundred Years' War, Bayeux was pillaged until Henry V of England captured the city in 1417. After the Battle of Formigny, Charles VII of France recaptured the city and granted a general amnesty to its populace in 1450; the capture of Bayeux heralded a return to prosperity as new families replaced those decimated by war and these built some 60 mansions scattered throughout the city, with stone supplanting wood.
The area around Bayeux is called the Bessin, the bailiwick of the province Normandy until the French Revolution. During the Second World War, Bayeux was the first city of the Battle of Normandy to be liberated, on 16 June 1944 General Charles de Gaulle made the first of two major speeches in Bayeux in which he made clear that France sided with the Allies; the buildings in Bayeux were untouched during the Battle of Normandy, the German forces being involved in defending Caen from the Allies. The Bayeux War Cemetery with its memorial includes the largest British cemetery dating from the Second World War in France. There are 4,648 graves, including 466 Germans. Most of those buried. Royal British Legion National, every 5 June at 1530 hrs, attends the 3rd Division Cean Memorial Service and beating retreat ceremony. On the 6th of June, it holds a remembrance
Hugh the Great
Hugh the Great was the Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris. He was the son of King Robert I of France and Béatrice of Vermandois, daughter of Herbert I, Count of Vermandois, he was born in Île-de-France, France. His eldest son was Hugh Capet who became King of France in 987, his family is known as the Robertians. In 922 the barons of western Francia, after revolting against the Carolingian king Charles the Simple, elected Robert I, Hugh's father, as King of Western Francia. At the death of Robert I, in battle at Soissons in 923, Hugh refused the crown and it went to his brother-in-law, Rudolph of France. Charles, sought help in regaining his crown from his cousin Herbert II, Count of Vermandois, who instead of helping the king imprisoned him. Herbert used his prisoner as an advantage in pressing his own ambitions, using the threat of releasing the king up until Charles' death in 929. From on Herbert II of Vermandois struggled with king Rudolph and his vassal Hugh the Great. Rudolph and Herbert II came to an agreement in 935.
At the death of Rudolph in 936, Hugh was in possession of nearly all of the region between the Loire and the Seine, corresponding to the ancient Neustria, with the exceptions of Anjou and of the territory ceded to the Normans in 911. He took a active part in bringing Louis IV from the Kingdom of England in 936. In 937 Hugh married Hedwige of Saxony, a daughter of Henry the Fowler of Germany and Matilda, soon quarrelled with Louis. In 938 King Louis IV began attacking fortresses and lands held by members of his family, some held by Herbert II of Vermandois. In 939 king Louis attacked Hugh the Great and William I, Duke of Normandy, after which a truce was concluded, lasting until June; that same year Hugh, along with Herbert II of Vermandois, Arnulf I, Count of Flanders and Duke William Longsword paid homage to the Emperor Otto the Great, supported him in his struggle against Louis. When Louis fell into the hands of the Normans in 945, he was handed over to Hugh in exchange for their young duke Richard.
Hugh released Louis IV in 946 on condition. In 948 at a church council at Ingelheim the bishops, all but two being from Germany and excommunicated Hugh in absentia, returned Archbishop Artauld to his See at Reims. Hugh's response was to attack Soissons and Reims while the excommunication was repeated by a council at Trier. Hugh relented and made peace with Louis IV, the church and his brother-in-law Otto the Great. On the death of Louis IV, Hugh was one of the first to recognize Lothair as his successor, and, at the intervention of Queen Gerberga, was instrumental in having him crowned. In recognition of this service Hugh was invested by the new king with the duchies of Burgundy and Aquitaine. In the same year, Giselbert, duke of Burgundy, acknowledged himself his vassal and betrothed his daughter to Hugh's son Otto-Henry. On 16 June 956 Hugh the Great died in Dourdan. Hugh married first, in 922, daughter of Roger, Count of Maine, his wife Rothilde, a daughter of Emperor Charles the Bald, she died childless in 925.
Hugh's second wife was Eadhild, daughter of Edward the Elder, king of the Anglo-Saxons, sister of King Æthelstan. They married in 926 and she died in 938, childless. Hugh's third wife was Hedwig of Saxony, daughter of Henry the Fowler and Matilda, she and Hugh had: Beatrice married Frederick I, Duke of Upper Lorraine. Hugh Capet Emma. Otto, Duke of Burgundy, a minor in 956. Odo-Henry I, Duke of Burgundy
Richard I of Normandy
Richard I known as Richard the Fearless, was the Count of Rouen or Jarl of Rouen from 942 to 996. Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write the "De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum", called him a Dux. However, this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's renowned leadership in war, not as a reference to a title of nobility. Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy or he expanded it. By the end of his reign, the most important Norman landholders held their lands in feudal tenure. Richard was born to William Longsword, princeps of Normandy, Sprota, his mother was a Breton concubine bound to William by a more danico marriage. He was the grandson of the famous Rollo. William was told of the birth of a son after the battle with Riouf and other Viking rebels, but his existence was kept secret until a few years when William Longsword first met his son Richard. After kissing the boy and declaring him his heir, William sent Richard to be raised in Bayeux.
Richard was about ten years old when his father was killed on 17 December 942. After William was killed, Sprota became the wife of a wealthy miller. Rodulf of Ivry was Richard's half-brother. With the death of Richard's father in 942, King Louis IV of France installed the boy, Richard, in his father's office. Under the influence of Arnulf I, Count of Flanders, the King took him into Frankish territory and placing him in the custody of the count of Ponthieu before the King reneged and seized the lands of the Duchy of Normandy, he split up the Duchy, giving its lands in lower Normandy to Hugh the Great. Louis IV thereafter kept Richard in close confinement at Lâon, but the youth escaped from imprisonment with assistance of Osmond de Centville, Bernard de Senlis, Ivo de Bellèsme, Bernard the Dane. In 946, at the age of 14, Richard allied himself with the Norman and Viking leaders in France and with men sent by King Harold of Denmark. A battle was fought after. Hostages were held until King Louis recognised Richard as Duke, returning Normandy to him.
Richard agreed to "commend" himself to Hugh, the Count of Paris, Hugh resolved to form a permanent alliance with Richard and promised his daughter Emma, just a child, as a bride. Louis IV working with Arnulf I, Count of Flanders persuaded Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor to attack Richard and Hugh; the combined armies of Otto and Louis IV were driven from the gates of Rouen, fleeing to Amiens and being decisively defeated in 947. A period of peace ensued, Louis IV dying in 13 year old Lothair becoming King; the middle aged Hugh appointed Richard as guardian of his 15-year-old son, Hugh Capet in 955. In 962, Theobald I, Count of Blois, attempted a renewed invasion of Rouen, Richard's stronghold, but his troops were summarily routed by Normans under Richard's command, forced to retreat before having crossed the Seine river. Lothair, the king of the West Franks, was fearful that Richard's retaliation could destabilize a large part of West Francia so he stepped in to prevent any further war between the two.
In 987, Hugh Capet became King of the Franks. For the last 30 years until his death in 996 in Fécamp, Richard concentrated on Normandy itself, participated less in Frankish politics and its petty wars. In lieu of building up the Norman Empire by expansion, he stabilized the realm and reunited the Normans, forging the reclaimed Duchy of his father and grandfather into West Francia's most cohesive and formidable principality. Richard died of natural causes in Fecamp, France, on 20 November 996. Richard used marriage to build strong alliances, his marriage to Emma of Paris connected him directly to the House of Capet. His second wife, from a rival Viking group in the Cotentin, formed an alliance to that group, while her sisters formed the core group that were to provide loyal followers to him and his successors, his daughters forged valuable marriage alliances with powerful neighboring counts as well as to the king of England. Emma married firstly Æthelred the Unready and after his death in the invader, Cnut the Great.
Her children included Edward the Confessor, Alfred Aetheling and with Cnut, Harthacnut, so completing a major link between the Duke of Normandy and the Crown of England that would add validity to the claim by William the Conqueror to the throne of England. Richard built on his relationship with the church, undertaking acts of piety, restoring their lands and ensuring the great monasteries flourished in Normandy, his further reign was marked by an extended period of tranquility. His first marriage in 960 was to Emma, daughter of Hugh "The Great" of France, Hedwig von Sachsen, they were betrothed when both were young. She died after 19 March 968, with no issue. According to Robert of Torigni, not long after Emma's death, Duke Richard went out hunting and stopped at the house of a local forester, he became enamored with the forester's wife, but she was a virtuous woman and suggested he court her unmarried sister, instead. Gunnor became her family rose to prominence, her brother, Herfast de Crepon, may have been involved in a controversial heresy trial.
Gunnor was, like Richard, of Viking descent. Richard married her to legitimize their children: Richard II "the Good", Duke of Normandy Robert, Archbishop of Rouen, Count of Evreux Mauger, Count of Corbeil Robert Danus, died between 985 and
The Bretons are a Celtic ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brittonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain Cornwall and Devon during the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, they migrated in waves from the 3rd to 9th century into Armorica, subsequently named Brittany after them. The main traditional language of Brittany is Breton, spoken in Lower Brittany. Breton is spoken by around 206,000 people as of 2013; the other principal minority language of Brittany is Gallo. As one of the Brittonic languages, Breton is related to Cornish and more distantly to Welsh, while the Gallo language is one of the Romance langues d'oïl. Most Bretons' native language is standard French. Brittany and its people are counted as one of the six Celtic nations. Ethnically, along with the Cornish and Welsh, the Bretons are Celtic Britons; the actual number of ethnic Bretons in Brittany and France as a whole is difficult to assess as the government of France does not collect statistics on ethnicity.
The population of Brittany, based on a January 2007 estimate, was 4,365,500. It is said that, in 1914, over 1 million people spoke Breton west of the boundary between Breton and Gallo-speaking region—roughly 90% of the population of the western half of Brittany. In 1945, it was about 75%, today, in all of Brittany, the most optimistic estimate would be that 20% of Bretons can speak Breton. Brittany has a population of four million, including the department of Loire-Atlantique, which the Vichy government separated from historical Brittany in 1941. Seventy-five percent of the estimated 200,000 to 250,000 Breton speakers using Breton as an everyday language today are over the age of 65. A strong historical emigration has created a Breton diaspora within the French borders and in the overseas departments and territories of France. Many Breton families have emigrated to the Americas, predominantly to Canada and the United States. People from the region of Brittany were among the first European settlers to permanently settle the French West Indies, i.e. Dominica and Martinique, where remnants of their culture can still be seen to this day.
The only places outside Brittany that still retain significant Breton customs are in Île-de-France, Le Havre and in Îles des Saintes, where a group of Breton families settled in the mid-17th century. In the late 4th century, large numbers of British auxiliary troops in the Roman army may have been stationed in Armorica; the 9th-century Historia Brittonum states that the emperor Magnus Maximus, who withdrew Roman forces from Britain, settled his troops in the province. Nennius and Gildas mention a second wave of Britons settling in Armorica in the following century to escape the invading Anglo-Saxons and Scoti. Modern archaeology supports a two-wave migration, it is accepted that the Brittonic speakers who arrived gave the region its current name as well as the Breton language, Brezhoneg, a sister language to Welsh and Cornish. There are numerous records of Celtic Christian missionaries migrating from Britain during the second wave of Breton colonisation the legendary seven founder-saints of Brittany as well as Gildas.
As in Cornwall, many Breton towns are named after these early saints. The Irish saint Columbanus was active in Brittany and is commemorated accordingly at Saint-Columban in Carnac. In the Early Middle Ages, Brittany was divided into three kingdoms—Domnonée, Bro Waroc'h —which were incorporated into the Duchy of Brittany; the first two kingdoms seem to derive their names from the homelands of the migrating tribes in Britain and Devon. Bro Waroc'h derives from the name of one of the first known Breton rulers, who dominated the region of Vannes; the rulers of Domnonée, such as Conomor, sought to expand their territory, claiming overlordship over all Bretons, though there was constant tension between local lords. Bretons were the most prominent of the non-Norman forces in the Norman conquest of England. A number of Breton families were of the highest rank in the new society and were tied to the Normans by marriage; the Scottish Clan Stewart and the royal House of Stuart have Breton origins. Alan Rufus known as Alan the Red, was both a cousin and knight in the retinue of William the Conqueror.
Following his service at Hastings, he was rewarded with large estates in Yorkshire. At the time of his death, he was by far the richest noble in England, his manorial holding at Richmond ensured a Breton presence in northern England. The Earldom of Richmond became an appanage of the Dukes of Brittany. Many people throughout France claim Breton ethnicity, including a few French celebrities such as Marion Cotillard, Malik Zidi, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, Yoann Gourcuff, Nolwenn Leroy and Yann Tiersen. After 15 years of disputes in the French courts, the European Court of Justice recognized Breton Nationality for the six children of Jean-Jacques and Mireille Manrot-Le Goarnig. In 2015, Jonathan Le Bris started a legal battle against the French administration to claim this status; the Breton diaspora includes Breton immigrants in some cities of France like Paris, Le Havre and Toulon, Breton Canadians and Breton Americans, along with other Fre